The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

Alka Joshi returns with her signature blend of rich narrative and vivid imagery. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur picks up the threads of Lakshmi’s life a dozen years after we left her in The Henna Artist. Escaping from a scandal in Jaipur, Lakshmi finds sanctuary in the foothills of the Himalayas, creating a new life with her sharp-witted adoptive son, Malik, and her doctor husband. It’s now 1969 and Malik is studying the building trade as an intern at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project is a state-of-the-art cinema. More than a thousand people flock to Jaipur’s Royal Jewel Cinema on opening night. But as […]

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Paulsen’s Final Adventure

“That simple. You lived or you died. And in between the two, if you kept your mind open and aware and listened and smelled and watched… In between you learned.” ― Gary Paulsen, Northwind Northwind is quite a journey. The hero of our story is a 12-year-old orphan named Leif, whose life is upended when a deadly plague strikes his small fishing camp. It’s gritty and raw—Paulsen doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of it all. To save Leif and another young boy, a dying elder puts the two kids in a cedar canoe and tells Leif to paddle north to where the air is fresh. Unsure of his destination, Leif […]

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The Last Chance Library

“Libraries are like a net, there to catch those of us in danger of falling through the cracks.” ― Freya Sampson, The Last Chance Library. The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson casts a warm glow on the cozy little world of June Jones, a shy librarian in a quaint English village. The library is June’s safety net until it’s not. The threat of losing her beloved library to budget cuts forces June out from the stacks to stand up for her community’s beating heart. This book wraps you up in its comforting embrace like a well-worn cardigan. With a quirky cast of oddball patrons that feel lifted from a village party, […]

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The Cellist

“A nuclear bomb can only be dropped once. But money can be wielded every day with no fallout and no threat of mutually assured destruction.”—Daniel Silva, The Cellist. I picked up The Cellist by Daniel Silva, hoping for the usual rollercoaster ride, but ended up feeling like I was stuck on a slow-moving tour bus. Look, I’m usually all in for Silva’s twists and turns, but this? This was a slog. First off, the whole vibe’s off. We’re back with billionaire Viktor Orlov, who’s up to his neck in trouble again. His London pad, supposedly tighter than Fort Knox, gets breached on what? A rainy evening? Come on. Then there’s […]

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Haunting Mysteries and Historical Intrigue

“Right— we’re the good Orientals now. But I still can’t buy a house outside Chinatown. That’s ‘all men are created equal’ for you.”—Amy Chua, The Golden Gate. In 1944 Berkeley, California, presidential hopeful Walter Wilkinson is found dead in his room at the Claremont Hotel, launching an investigation by Homicide Detective Al Sullivan. Early evidence points to the three granddaughters of wealthy socialite Genevieve Hopkins Bainbridge and links to the 1930 murder of 7-year-old Iris Stafford, rumored to haunt the hotel. The Golden Gate, written by Yale law professor Amy Chua, is an old-fashioned detective novel rich with California history and real-life figures. The story alternates between Genevieve’s deposition and […]

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Dark Roads

The Cold Creek Highway stretches close to five hundred miles through British Columbia’s rugged wilderness to the west coast. For decades, young indigenous women traveling the road have gone missing. Authorities have brought no killer or abductor to justice. In part 1 of Dark Roads, seventeen-year-old Hailey McBride calls Cold Creek home. Her aunt and controlling police-officer step-uncle assume the responsibility of taking care of her after her father’s death. Overwhelmed by grief and forbidden to work, socialize, or date, Hailey runs away, believing she can use the outdoor skills her father taught her to survive the harsh wilderness. She also hopes people will believe she was the killer’s latest […]

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The Angel Makers

The Angel Makers by veteran journalist Patti McCracken is a chilling dive into the world of true crime. The book takes us back to the 1920s in the Hungarian village of Nagyrév, where things got seriously dark. Zsuzsanna Fazekas, aka Auntie Suzy, rolls into town in 1911, and guess what? Her husband is nowhere to be found. Suspicious, right? Then she racks up arrests for conducting illegal abortions, but somehow keeps dodging conviction. That’s when her side hustle begins. She cooks up arsenic from flypaper and selling it to women who want to bump off their kin. And not just a few, mind you. We’re talking about husbands, kids, parents—anyone […]

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The Raging Storm

Jem Rosco is Greystone, Devon’s biggest celebrity. Sailor and adventurer, he gained notoriety for his solo sailing trip around the world. When he arrives in town during a storm, the residents of the tiny village are thrilled to have him around, but things take a dark turn when his naked body is found in an anchored dinghy and his rental cottage is a bloody crime scene. Detective Inspector Matthew Venn and his team, Jen Rafferty and Ross May, descend upon the town to investigate Rosco’s past and present to find a motive for murder. There’s more trouble brewing in Greystone, though, with another murder complicating the mystery. This is an […]

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The Wildest Sun

“I am the daughter of a proud father and a delightfully vain mother. I am a girl who has always known that her destiny must lead to greatness, and that I must achieve it whatever it costs me.”—Asha Lemmie, The Wildest Sun. This coming-of-age tale whisked me away to postwar Paris, where we meet Delphine Auber, a young aspiring writer with dreams as big as the Eiffel Tower. From the get-go, Delphine’s journey captivated me. Having shouldered the weight of her alcoholic mother’s care since she was a child, her story is one of resilience and determination. But it’s when she sets sail for the bustling streets of Harlem, where […]

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Northwoods

Northwoods by Amy Pease is set in the quaint but troubled resort town of Shaky Lake, Wisconsin, and the book plunges you into a dark and twisty mystery that’ll keep you entertained. Our protagonist, Deputy Sheriff Eli North, is a man haunted by demons, both internal and external. His stint in Afghanistan left him battered and scarred, self-medicating with booze to numb the pain. It’s cost him dearly—his marriage, and his career as an investigator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Now, the only job he can hold down is with the local sheriff’s department, where his mom, Marge, wears the sheriff’s badge and can keep a watchful eye […]

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